Wayne Gretzky is a Canadian-born retired professional hockey player and entrepreneur. Every new sports season, some athlete is crowned the new “greatest”. However, there have been a few athletes who have dominated a sport so completely for an extended period of time, that they are, truly, the “greatest”.
Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, Kelly Slater, Nadia Comaneci, there are a handful of men and women, who have managed to redefine what is possible in their chosen sport. Wayne Gretzky is that person for the world of hockey.
The former NHL player from Brantford, Ontario, Canada began skating when he was three and was playing hockey against ten-year-olds in Canada when he was just six.
He eventually had to move away from his hometown to continue playing, because regional fans were booing whenever he took the ice, since his level of skill so eclipsed the other children around him.
He joined the World Hockey Association in 1978, and when it dissolved, he moved to the NHL, playing for the Edmonton Oilers, the Los Angeles Kings, the St. Louis Blues, and finally, the New York Rangers.
Over the course of his 21 years as a player, he set a ridiculous number of records, and won multiple awards, including scoring the most points in NHL history and being the only NHL player to score over 200 points in a season (and he did it four times).
He also won nine Hart Trophies (MVP), 10 Art Ross Trophies (Most Points), and two Conn Smythe Trophies (Playoff MVP), among many other honors.
Since retiring he has served as the executive director of the Canadian National Hockey Team during their 2002 Olympic showing, (they won the Gold medal), and he served as the Head Coach for the Phoenix Coyotes.
Wayne also launched a highly successful entrepreneurial career which we detail later in this article. All of his success, endorsement deals, and business ventures, including co-owning a restaurant and a successful sports equipment line, have made him quite wealthy.
Early Life and Career
Wayne Douglas Gretzky was born in Brantford, Ontario, on January 26, 1961. He has three brothers and a sister. His father Walter taught him, his siblings, and their friends how to play hockey on a homemade rink in the family home’s backyard, and from an early age, Gretzky showed a natural talent.
By age 6, he was already playing on a team otherwise composed of 10-year-olds, and he continued to garner attention as he progressed. His excelling on the ice often earned him negative attention from other players and jealous parents, so it was not uncommon for him to get booed during games.
In part to help him advance his career, but also in part to help him escape the negative atmosphere of his hometown, his parents helped him move to Toronto to play hockey there.
At the time, players were not allowed to play in different areas, but his parents challenged the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association and won, so he was allowed to play Junior B hockey with the Toronto Nationals, eventually earning Rookie of the Year in the Metro Junior B Hockey League for the 1975-76 season.
He eventually was drafted in the 1977 Ontario Major Junior Hockey League draft to play for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds when he was 16.
Wayne Gretzky: Career Earnings & Net Worth
During his NHL career, Wayne Gretzky earned a total of $46 million in NHL salary. He earned an additional $50 million from endorsements during his playing days.
When combined, he earned around the same as $150 million after adjusting for inflation. He has invested his money very wisely, building an empire that today includes sports team ownership, a vineyard, real estate ventures, and more.
According to Forbes, Wayne Gretzky is now worth an estimated $250 million after factoring in numerous lucrative endorsement deals.
Wayne Gretzky: Real Estate
In the late 1980s, soon after moving over to the LA Kings, Wayne purchased a large property in the exclusive Beverly Hills gated community of Beverly Park.
He sold his house a few years later to a billionaire named Eric Smidt. Smidt bought the vacant lot next door for $3 million and in 2014 sold the combined estate for $40 million.
In 2007 Wayne and his wife custom-built a mansion located within a gated country club in Thousand Oaks, California. Wayne Gretzky’s house in Thousand Oaks is 10,815 square feet.
It has two guest houses and sits on 6.5 acres of land in the very exclusive Sherwood Country Club community. Wayne Gretzky’s house was designed by famed architect Richard Landry in close consultation with Mr. Gretzky.
The house features hardwood floors, plaster detailing, an open floor plan, a state-of-the-art kitchen, a home theater, an outdoor, wood-burning pizza oven, and a pool.
The main house has six bedrooms and seven and a half bathrooms. Additionally, one of the guest houses has a full gym, and there is a sunken tennis court out back, as well.
The Gretzkys sold the house in 2014 to a former baseball player Lenny Dykstra, who at this time was touting himself as a financial guru for a mind-numbing $18.5 million.
A year later the real estate market collapsed, as did Lenny’s guru status. Lenny tried to sell the house for $18.5 million at what might have been the worst time in history to sell a house.
He lowered the price over and over, eventually losing it in foreclosure after he declared bankruptcy and was arrested on fraud charges. To bring it all full circle, Wayne and Janet Gretzky re-acquired the house in 2018 for $13.5 million.